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Truckers strike: South Korea’s Yoon threatens crackdown

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South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has warned that government might step in to break up a nationwide strike by truckers.

Yoon described the strike as an illegal and unacceptable move to take the national supply chain “hostage” during an economic crisis.

“The public will not tolerate taking the logistics system hostage in the face of a national crisis,” Yoon said in a Facebook message.

He noted that exports were key to overcoming economic instability and financial market volatility.

“If the irresponsible denial of transport continues, the government will have no choice but to review a number of measures, including a work start order.” Yoon said.

Thousands of unionised truckers kicked off their second major strike seeking better pay and working conditions in less than six months on Thursday.

The action is already disrupting supply chains across the world’s 10th-largest economy, affecting automakers, the cement industry and steel producers.

Also Read: South Korea’s Yoon to attend ASEAN, G20 meetings

Union officials said there were no ongoing negotiations or dialogue with the government.

The country’s transport ministry said it requested dialogue with the union on Thursday, but the parties have yet to agree on a date.

Union officials estimated about 25,000 people were joining the strike, out of about 420,000 total transport workers in South Korea.

The transport ministry said about 7,700 people were expected to rally for the strike on Friday in 164 locations nationwide, down from 9,600 people on Thursday.

According to South Korean law, during a serious disruption to transportation the government may issue an order to force transport workers back to their jobs.

Failure to comply is punishable by up to three years of jail, or a fine of up to 30 million won ($22,550).

 

Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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